Monday, June 29, 2015

Örebro Week 12

No funny quote this week :( They happened, I just forgot to write them down...

BUT! It was a good week. 
-Helped the family from our ward with the roof again (we will be there one more time and hopefully take pictures)
-Taught the Restoration to one of our investigators. She teared up a bit and could really feel the Spirit. She was in Church AGAIN this Sunday! It was a perfect Sacrament Meeting for her because the speakers talked about the Book of Mormon and bore very powerful testimonies of it. Perfect!
-Had delicous Hungarian soup TWICE this week made by the Hungarian Family in the ward. SO GOOD!

I love this talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland called "How Do I Love Thee?" The video (at the bottom) is just a short clip from it, but I think that the whole thing is on Youtube. It talks a lot about Charity (the pure love of Christ) and how we can attain unto it in all of our relationships. I love what the Prophet Mormon said about Charity in Moroni 7:45-47

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not ininiquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity,ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day,it shall be well with him.

Pray for Charity. Work for Charity. Let it become a part of who you are. Let it change you. It is changing me every day :) Spread the Pure Love of Christ like candy at a parade. The world needs moreof that! Just forget yourself, serve others, and help lighten the loads of those around you. I love this quote by President Thomas S. Monson on Charity:
"In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out."

Love you lots and praying for you. Thanks for all that you do and all that you are. 
Syster Sarah Griffes

Monday, June 22, 2015

"They will be attracted to our righteousness" Örebro Week 11

Quote comes from Elder Smith, an Elder here in Örebro. We wore normal clothes (like jeans and t-shirts) for Midsommar (more about that later) for the ward party (like 1 of the 2 days in the year we can wear normal clothes). We were getting picked up by a member and I asked how they would recognize us from far away without our proselyting clothes and Elder Smith responded as said. :) He pretty much has the best one-liners. 

This week was Midsommar. It is a holiday pretty much just celebrated in Sweden. It is the Celebration for the longest day of the year/the change to summer. As with most Swedish holidays, the big celebration was the day before (so on June 20, called Midsommarafton) instead of the actually holiday (Midsommardagen). No idea why they do that... BUT! Midsommar was way fun! Traditions with Midsommar? Have a pole with flowers on it and do crazy dances around it. Eat as many strawberries as humanly possible. Eat sill. Wear traditionally Swedish clothes. Have a jolly good time. We celebrated with our Ward, so our Midsommar pole was not so big and there were not so many people, but it was lovely, nonetheless. I love this ward! 

Other cool things from this week:
-We visited an old lady in the Ward and sang a hymn to her. Her smile afterward was priceless and precious. She prayed before we left and said the sweetest prayer that we would be safe and successful and it was perfect. Every prayer matters!

-We met with an awesome new investigator that is Swedish and 20. She found a faith and relationship with Heavenly Father on her own and wants to keep on strengthening it. It is wonderful and she is way awesome. She even came to church on Sunday! Another one of our investigators came too. It was wonderful!

-We helped a family in our Ward with their roof. Fact of the day: Swedish roofs are weird. Many of them are just tiles that are not actually attached to the roof, they kind of just hang there. We helped them to remove the tiles with this slide contraption that the Father build. They are all super handy. It was pretty fun and we were pretty sore the next day :) And a little sunburnt :)

-A member in the ward gave us a referral for a friend. We swung by and her friend was not interested, but we had some time, so we went tracting and got invited into a lady's apartment to talk to her. She is way positive and open. The cool thing is that we are pretty much never in that area, so the member was inspired, even if it was not her friend that needed us. The Lord has prepared people everywhere. Just have to find them!

Father's day was this past Sunday in America (it is in November in Sweden). I love this video about our fathers and our Heavenly Father. I am so, so grateful for my dad and all the things that I have learned from him. I would not be me without him. I feel like I am learning more and more each day that makes me more grateful for my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. Love both of them more than I can say!

With love,
Syster Sarah Griffes

Monday, June 15, 2015

"I got stalked by the missionaries AND you took pictures!?!" Örebro Week

Quote of the week is from a YSA. We just happened to stumble across him and a girl that he liked that he had told us about and the iPhones have pretty nice like...we couldn't resist :) Syster Bourelle wanted to go up and start talking to them and really embarass him, but I held her back. :)

I'm having a hard time deciding if I should keep writing letters like I have been or just switch to a highlight reel. My e-mails are getting kind of excessive :) I will probably be trying out a few different things in the next few weeks. If you miss how I used to do it or wish I did something else, let me know! I need ideas!

Highlights from this week:

-A couple of Jehovah's Witnesses invited us over for Fika. They are all so nice! We had a really nice conversation until they read Galatians 1:6-9 to us and pretty much told us we are cursed. Little do they know, we are teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ just like He taught it when He was on the earth.

-We had a dinner with this really sweet lady in the ward. She told us about how she joined the church...I love conversion stories! She said that she was moving and was going through some stuff and found a Book of Mormon (one of those really old white ones, this one had a painting from when Christ visited the Americas on it) and thought it was too pretty to throw away, so she read it and met with the missionaries and got baptized soon thereafter. To this day, she still has no idea how exactly she got the book :) 

-We had a lesson with a potential investigator from Nigeria and he is way open. He listened very intently to the Restoration and says that if the Book of Mormon is true, he wants a part of this and will be baptized. Good news! The Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet and all the things!

-Had dinner with an investigator that texted us like 2 weeks ago and said that he had a bad week and just cannot believe in anything any more. We have been praying for him so hard! Everything is okay again and....HE CAME TO CHURCH THIS WEEK! YYYYYEEEEEEESSSSSS! The missionaries have been trying to get him to church for months now. Things are moving with him!

-We spent Saturday in Arboga, which is always a really packed day. Especially this time because an African investigator decided that he wanted to make us dinner which put us way behind schedule then we had dinner with members and they made Persian food. Both dinners were so, so good, but like I never wanted to eat ever again after having both of those within 2 hours. 

Taught a member family yesterday about Enduring to the End. We asked the dad what it meant to him to endure to the end. I really like what he said, "Enduring to the end is picking yourself up one more time than you fall down." It is continuing even when things are tough and you don't feel like you can anymore. It is trusting in Heavenly Father's plan and moving forward with faith that things will be better. We can do this, we just have to look to and rely on Him whose plan we are living right now! He knows your name, He knows you, and He knows that you can do this, and deep down, so do you. Don't ever forget that!

Love you, thinking of you, and praying for you.
Syster Sarah Griffes

Monday, June 8, 2015

Zone Conference, Special Stake Conference, and Everything in Between- Örebro Week 9

I forgot to write down funny things that happened this week so we have no funny title :(

Tuesday we had the usual, service, lunch, studies. We visited a member and helped brighten her day a little bit. We read our favorite mission scriptures (mine is Alma 26:12 and Syster Bourelle's is Doctrine and Covenants 18: 15-16). We then took a train to Stockholm for Zone Conference. We got to stay the night with the Systers in Västerhaninge. Guess who is there?!? SYSTER IRENE! I love that girl! It was good to see her and catch up...even if it had only been 3 weeks :)

Zone Conference on Wednesday was fabulous, as always. They always talk about things that I have been pondering about. I know that the leaders of our mission are guided by Heavenly Father! We talked about Raising the Bar as missionaries and how we need to just keep going, even when the going is tough. We also talked about being "Disciples in the Digital Age." A few months ago, President and Syster Beckstrand were in Germany and they had a big meeting with many other mission presidents and David A. Bednar (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) about using technology in missionary work. There are missions in the US, Europe, and Asia that have received iPad mini's to help with missionary work. Our mission is not one of these, but they say that we should be receiving them within the next year-ish (really, we have no idea when. We just wait). We traveled back to Örebro that night then back to Stockholm again on Thursday ( didn't make any sense to me either...) to go on Splits with the Syster Training Leaders there. I went back to Örebro with Syster Bolton. We did some street contacting that night and actually had a street lesson for over an hour. We talked about lots of things like how much God loves us and how He is always listening when we pray to Him. We invited the two men to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. It was really good and the Spirit was very strong. 

On Friday Syster Bolton and I went up to Hällefors to visit the less active family that lives up there. We had a member with us and we talked about the Restoration and how it can bless our families (specifically that we have temples in which our families can be sealed together for time and all eternity). I am so glad that I get to be with my family forever. I just love them so much! We then switched companions back and Syster Bourelle and I did weekly planning. Saturday was Sweden's National Day. Let's just say it is a really little thing here. Most exciting thing that happened was that the king came to Örebro, but we didn't even get to see him :( We had a little ward party. I love this ward! We planned to have a lesson with one of the guys we met on the street on Thursday, but he couldn't come, so we role played the Restoration with a YSA. We then helped the Elders set stuff up for one of their investigators in her new apartment. It was really lovely. She had a question about Joseph Smith, so we got to talk about him and all that he has done for us. Like he literally gave his life for this Gospel. He is pretty much the greatest (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3).

Sunday. We had a special stake conference broadcast from Scotland to all of Great Britain and Scandanavia. The talks were superb and really moving. We did studies then went tracting (knocking on doors). We got to teach the Restoration to a girl at her door and had some other, smaller, really cool interactions. I love missionary work!

One of my favorite talks from Sunday was one about how we need to "Reach out and Rescue" those around us. The guy talked about how there are people out there that need each and every one of us to help them. He talked about how no attempt is too small and that as we help, we receive opportunities to do more and more every day. There are people waiting out there for YOUR rescuing hand! Go find them and help them! 

And then, of course, Elder Holland spoke about the Book of Mormon. He bore a powerful testimony about how it IS God's word for us. He really hit on the point that it was translated by Joseph Smith and written by prophets in ancient America. A lot of people are really confused about this and sometimes have a hard time accepting it, but I like what Elder Holland said, "No bad man would write this book and no good man would pretend to." It is the book that can bring us closer to Heavenly Father than any other book. It testifies of Christ and "is a shield and protection" against Satan. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I am so, so grateful that I get to share that truth with everyone here in Sweden. 

I hope that this letter finds all of you well and happy. Don't forget how much God loves you and looks out for you. He has a plan for your life specifically, you just have to go to Him in prayer and figure out what it is. 
Love you!
Syster Sarah Griffes
A Servant of the Lord

Pictures Örebro Week 9

1. Half group reunion with Elders from my MTC group...FAMILY!
2. We got to see the temple :D I miss the temple!
3. Me and Syster Irene after Zone Conference
4. Swedish flags were up all over for National Day on the 6th (still not nearly as many as come out in America for Independence Day :)

Monday, June 1, 2015

"Elder Erikson would be a potato" Örebro Week 9

Quote this week comes from District Meeting last week. Every missionary had to decide what their companion's patronus is... Elder Erikson comes from Idaho, so it fits. Syster Bourelle says I would have a hippogriff. OH YES! 

In other news, this week I realized that I have officially become used to be tired all the time. Like I am still always tired, it is just not so big of a thing anymore. Just keep going all day long then basically fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow :) We can sleep in the eternities 

After P-day last Monday, we had a lesson with a TU (Tänkbara Undersökare AKA Potential Investigator). We then dropped by a less active member. We dropped by him probably like 3 or 4 times this week and he has not been home...ever. Which is really weird because he is almost always home. Getting kind of worried, so we are praying a lot for him. On Tuesday, we did service as usual then made lunch and the Elders just happened to notice that we had a lot left over, so they kindly ate with us. ahahaha, Elders...never full...NEVER. We helped a member out with her visiting teaching (the program that we have in which all of the women in the Ward visit each other every month. Each woman is assigned like 2 or 3 other women to visit, pretty great program that helps us all watch out for each other). We talked about virtue and how it is really the beginning of all other good characteristics. We also had a lesson with an investigator. I just love him and his family! They are so, so cute! And way, way faithful. Both of the parents literally grew up on missions in South America and they are so great!

On Wednesday we went to Arboga to visit all the less actives. Always a lovely time with lots of different lessons. We talked about things from the Sabbath day to gratitude to missionary work to charity. On Thursday, we had a real random day. We had district meeting then had to go and get Syster Bourelle's personnummer. We did some studies, then visited less actives. They were home!!! It is always a miracle when someone answers that door that you have been knocking on for weeks. On Friday, we did weekly planning then had a lesson with an investigator. We talked about the Plan of Salvation. It just answers all of the questions in life. It is really cool because when we teach it, people usually say things like, "oh this sounds familiar" or "oh this makes sense." You know why it sounds familiar and makes sense?!? Because we knew about this plan before we even came to the earth! We agreed to it and sanctioned Jesus Christ as our Savior before we were even born! We lived with our Heavenly Father and were taught at His feet. We just get to remind people about it. So much happiness!

We also had dinner with a family in the ward. They also invited a young married couple in the ward. The husband of the couple served his mission in Michigan! We can talk about all the Michigan things. He told this really funny story about how one time they accidentally walked into someone's house because they thought it was an apartment building. They saw a person and his companion RAN out of the house and down the path, but he just tried to sneak out real quite. Then the house owner comes out and freaked out and asked what they were doing. He was like, "sorry! I'm from Sweden! I didn't know it was a house!" Using our nationality as an excuse...only in missionary work :)

Saturday was super rainy, but a lesson canceled, so we went tracting. We then had a lesson with two investigators from Iran (language barriers all day long!). We did some family history then visited a member family. The dad served his mission in England, so there was so much British pride. Love it!

Yet again, Sunday takes the cake :) Always exactly what I need. For our first hour, the women and men are usually separated, but every 5th Sunday, we have a meeting together. This time our Ward Mission Leader gave a presentation on Missionary Work and it was stellar. Hopefully it will get people pumped about sharing the Gospel, which is the most important thing in their lives, so why wouldn't they want to share it with everyone they meet? We had dinner with a member family, then went tracting. We had like a 30 minute discussion with this guy that believes in nothing other than evolution and says he cannot believe unless he has proof. He told us that he wants us to start asking "why" about everything. So I answered and said, "Because we have a Heavenly Father that loves us and has a plan for us." 

Sacrament Meeting was on Sunday Fast and Testimony Meeting. Instead of having a few speakers like we usually do, anyone is welcome to go and bear their testimony. It is always a really great meeting and the Spirit is so strong. I learn something new every time. This time I was reminded about all the Savior did for our Salvation. Missionary work is not easy, but the Savior did much more for us than He requires me to do. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. 

So glad to be out here in Sweden. There are hard days and long days and it is not easy, but it is so worth it! I am learning and growing so, so much every day. Like you all will probably not even recognize the person that I am when I get home. She is going to be so awesome!

Love you lots! Thanks for everything you do and everything you are,
Syster Sarah Griffes
A Happy, Dedicated, Willing Servant of the Lord 

Pictures Örebro Week 9

1. It was like rainy and sunny at the same time. Plus, Syster Bourelle likes selfies :)
2. The four of us missionaries here in Örebro. Syster Bourelle, Me, Elder Williams, and Elder Smith. Note the big gap between us #missionaries
3. Today we had lunch up in the cafe at the top of the water tower (Svampen AKA the mushroom). It was way, way windy outside :)